Hopefully our readers have not been sleeping. While much of the world has been watching WiMax deploys stall. (Bad economy, bad decisions, bad deploys.) Another tech has creped up next to WiMax — Super WiFi.
Background. sWiFi is WiFi with longer range and newer frequencies. The FCC granted approval to use the `white spaces` between the old analog TV channels now that the TV industry has transitioned to digital on different frequencies.
On the equipment front the first moves by most of the WiFi providers has been a boost in wattage in the current 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. Thats the same frequencies that the a/b/g/n ranges use today. The extra power has been able to boost range from a practical limit of a few miles to 25 miles in some cases. Longer term, the equipment providers will come to the front with devices that will utilize the longer distance TV frequencies. With multi antenna polar installs ranges of 50+ miles could be entertained.
This still on the drawing board stuff? Nope. Rice university has already trialed a deploy here in Texas. More here. Fact this could be something any average ham or electronic hobbyist should be able to do. An existing WiFi AP fed to a 1-5w power RF amp on existing frequencies could be utilized. The trick is to select an appropriate amp for the frequencies.
Upsides. Everything you know about WiFi is the same. The usual tools, tricks, and security schemes apply. That is a large savings in educational ramp up.
Downsides. All the problems associated with security on WiFi still apply too. Be cognizant of that fact. The other of course, with the longer ranges it is quite possible for ad hoc set ups to step all over each other.
Futures. For rural, low density locations this may well be the solution for them. Permitting is not an issue. With WiMax stalled, sWiFi may take over. When it is possible for a community of people to erect their own community AP’s and buy high gain receivers off the shelf it will take off.
What triggered the creation of this Blog may well be at hand in the next couple of years.
Predicted here over a year ago. Sprint in talks to take over Clearwire. The Clear name has become so tainted by overstated capability and poor customer service that it deserves to disappear. Potential trouble comes from Cable guy’s Clearwire stake becoming a stake in Sprint. That could mean the Duopoly will control wireless if the T Mobile deal also flies.
Are AOL and Yahoo in play? Current depressed share prices almost guarantee it. Yahoo is making money, but the spreadsheet kids on Wall Street want more. AOL is losing money, and declared savior Huffington has only hastened it’s decline.
Correction?!: HP may not be killing WebOS, only its related hardware. Confused yet?
The slippery slope to tyranny: CBO says freedom infringing Protect IP act will cost $10 Billion per year.
Is the high cost imposed by so many patents really worth it? Dear Congress: Please end the software patent.
From the what have the suits been smokin’ department: Time Warner Cable ditching Road Runner to help create more excitement for it’s Evil Eye logo. Beep! Beep!
While the big tech blogs fawn over the latest reason why LTE has killed Wimax long before the first LTE device is even deployed, Sprint has sold over 300,000 of it’s HTC Wimax handset in the last few days.
Although the company has not released specific figures from its June 4 debut, analyst David Dixon with FBR Capital Markets said the figure is likely close to 320,000 devices and that the carrier may have gained 100,000 new customers and 220,000 upgrades. Sprint claims the launch marked the largest quantity of a single phone it has ever sold in one day, with the Evo 4G beating the previous records the carrier held with the Samsung Instinct and the Palm Pre. (Wimax.com)
Had this device been logoed with a half eaten fruit a talked up by its cult leader, it would have sold millions. Never the less, 300K is not a shabby number for a 2 year contract on a “dead technology”. Silence from big media on something a big as 4G handset selling big numbers is very telling.
The LTE camp hasn’t chosen to park piles of pay for opinion dollars here, so I’ll call it the way I see it unfettered. Am I a Wimax fanboy? Not a chance! I just don’t believe in declaring victory for a player who has yet to enter the arena, especially when it’s rival is actually delivering product and service. If there are currently two wireless standards coexisting in the 3G world, what is so different about 4G that changes he benefit of competing technologies in marketplace?
Congrats to Sprint for scoring a first, and a success. Maybe another player can delivery a lower priced, less crippled 4G handset? We’re watching and waiting.
All of the chatter about 4G wireless in the big tech media is really beginning to annoy me. The wireless broadband world as of right now is 100% Wimax, and it works. In fact this post comes to you tonight via a Wimax connection that outperforms AT&T’s best DSL offering in my neighborhood, and lags behind Time Warner’s pricey 15MBPS service a bit. So, 4G wireless is here, working and destined to improve. Today it is 100% Wimax. You’d never know that from reading posts in the big tech media. They keep telling us that something called LTE is what I’ve been waiting for. Well, excuse me, I’m not waiting, I’m using. So why is it we keep reading FUD like this in GigaOM? I think it’s pretty simple. Lots of bloggers are following the lame stream media and recycling press releases and talking points as news. Sorry to single you out Om, I really do like your blog and you’re far from the worst offender.
Let me spell my bias out for you, and I think it’s pretty much the same as the average broadband consumer. IF an LTE based carrier shows up with a better deal I’m a customer. But, that’s based on if and when. Today, I’m writing about what I can buy now.
I do wish we’d get past discussion of technology. It’s a no brainer that LTE has a commitment from the major cell phone operators. It’s also a fact no one really has a clear idea of what LTE will be beyond the results of preliminary lab stats. The idea behind LTE is to make an easy transition form current cell phone technology for the nickel and dime you to death cellular carriers. Wimax was never designed to do that. So far, Wimax has been deployed as a big open pipe. Try getting that from the cell phone guys. By the time LTE is expected to be available in major markets, next gen Wimax will be available and an upgrade. I see a coming 4G war not only between two technologies, but also between two business models.
Bottom line: I can promise you we’re getting no largess from either the LTE or Wimax camp. We’re based in Texas, so I’ll use a little local analogy. Today Wimax is the only horse in town, and it’s pricier than we would like and slower than we would like. At the same time, as of today, the LTE camp is all hat and no cattle. Contrary to all of the tech media propaganda, both are likely to be with us for some time to come. In fact, I doubt one will be an clear winner over the other. There’s plenty of evidence for how that could work in today’s two competing cell phone standards.
It’s extremely irresponsible to call one a clear winner over the other before both players even take the field, and we’re not going to do that.
For those of the geeky variety, and not so, starting today McDonalds open up its WiFi to all comers. Free. With some catches.
Access is free. So general surfing will be available. According to McD’s web page (here) certain services and particular access needs may still require paying for the privilege. But I am fine with that. It is a step in the right direction.
McD’s being altruistic? Not totally. Their heart is in the right place, but their core reason is profit of course. You see McD’s has been in a battle Royale with StarBucks in the morning fast food segment going on 5 years now. Both players have toyed with the idea of going free on WiFi. Fact in some segments I believe StarBucks has already done so. Why do it? Draw customers in. Once they have you inside you might just buy a cup of coffee at a minimum or pop for a whole meal in the best of cases. Least thats the thinking.
This won’t go unnoticed of course. Figure StarBucks to counter across the board very quickly.
The real question becomes does WiFi stay viable for very long? In a strong parallel, WiFi hotspots are the 21st Century equivalent of the pay phone. Useful sure. But you are ‘parked’ till you finish your communications. Yet the growth of smartphones are anathema to that model as the CPE are tied to metrowide cellular/3g/4g services unrelated to specific locale. So WiFi services that McD’s is providing will fade just like the wall payphone at the local tavern did.